GLBT community and supporters come together for a night of celebration and discussion; proceeds from dinner to benefit marriage equality in California SAN FRANCISCO, July 17 /EMWNews/ -- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, today announced that it will hold its annual Bay Area Gala Dinner on Saturday, July 26, 2008, at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. With the theme of "Race for Equality," guests have the opportunity to contribute 100 percent of their ticket purchase to the ongoing effort to protect marriage equality in California. Gala dinner tickets are now available for purchase. "For the Human Rights Campaign, 2008 continues to prove to be a momentous year, particularly during this historic fight to preserve marriage equality in California," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We are honored to have this opportunity to help preserve marriage rights for all, and we thank our entire community for uniting together through their support of and participation in our annual gala in the Bay Area." On May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court issued an historic ruling recognizing that committed same-sex couples have a constitutional right to equality under the state's marriage laws. At this time, anti-equality forces are working to enshrine discrimination into California's constitution with a constitutional amendment (Proposition 8) on the November general election ballot. HRC, which is a part of the Equality for All coalition, has pledged an initial contribution of $500,000 to the coalition working to protect marriage equality. In addition to Proposition 8, speakers at the Gala will highlight progress made on other issues facing the LGBT community as well, including the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA). Diego Sanchez, a transgender member of HRC's Business Council and pivotal witness who gave testimony in last month's transgender congressional hearings organized by HRC and other organizations, will be speaking at the San Francisco Gala about his personal perspective on the path to fully inclusive legislation that involves, unites and includes HRC, other organizations, Congress and the community at large. "We are lucky to have Diego Sanchez as a speaker at this year's dinner," continued Solmonese. "HRC remains committed to passing a fully-inclusive version of ENDA and doing any and all work necessary to ensure that the entire GLBT community is protected from workplace discrimination." HRC helped introduce ENDA 13 years ago to prevent workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. ENDA was originally proposed as a piece of legislation to protect lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender Americans from employment discrimination at the federal level in HR 2015. HR 3685, a bill that protects only sexual orientation does not include protections for transgender Americans. While this wasn't the fully inclusive bill that HRC wanted, the organization believes the successful passage of HR 3685 bill is a valuable, albeit incomplete, step forward for the community. "ENDA is an emotionally charged, heated topic in the San Francisco Bay Area and HRC is fiercely committed to continuing to work with Congress to pass an inclusive version of ENDA including protections for transgender Americans," said Tom Floyd, co-chair of the 2008 Gala Dinner and HRC National Board of Governors member. "As part of our on-going effort to promote healing within our community, HRC welcomes open dialogue and throughout the evening will engage in conversation to increase awareness, understanding, and unity within the community in our continued effort for equality for all LGBT Americans." Registration & Program To purchase tickets, preview the program agenda, and for more information about the San Francisco Dinner, please visit: http://sfbayarea.hrc.org/dinner or call Box Office Tickets at: 800-494-TIXS (8497). When ordering tickets, all dinner guests will be given the option to designate the ticket price to the HRC California Marriage PAC. The PAC was established to fight against the anti-marriage ballot initiative. Proceeds from the dinner are part of the recent $500,000 pledge by HRC. In the past year, HRC also provided six full-time staff members and $100,000 to Equality for All, a large and diverse coalition of civil rights, faith, choice, labor and communities of color organizations working to stop and defeat any ballot measure that would deny gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in California. The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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